Workers’ Memorial Day, International Workers’ Memorial Day or International Commemoration Day (ICD) for Dead and Injured or Day of Mourning takes place annually around the world on April 28, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
Workers’ Memorial Day was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in 1984. The Canadian Labour Congress declared an annual day of remembrance in 1985 on April 28, which is the anniversary of a comprehensive Workers Compensation Act. In 1991, the Canadian Parliament passed an Act respecting a National Day of Mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace, making April 28 an official Workers’ Mourning Day.
Workers’ Memorial Day is now an international day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work, and annually on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day events are held throughout the world. Workers’ Memorial Day is recognised as a national day in many countries including: Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Gibraltar, Luxembourg, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, United States and the United Kingdom. Trade Unions in other countries including Benin, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Romania and Singapore are pursuing government recognition.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), across the world:
- Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
- Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of related illnesses
- Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives
- One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die while at work than those fighting wars.
Your Work Place
The slogan for Workers’ Memorial Day is: Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living
Let us all do our part, by taking time on April 28, and remembering those who have died or have been injured in the workplace. Consider the importance of our own never-ending journey to creating a workplace where Nobody Gets Hurt. The statistics above are a shocking reminder to all of us how important our Safety program is. We have made great strides over the years in our industry in the area of Safety. Safety must be a core belief and ultimately a way of life. Safety is not a tool that we can leave on the shelf or opt not to use. It must be an integral part of what we do, all day and every day. If not, we run the risk of being one of those fallen workers or causing another to fall.
While April 28 is a single day memorial; what is most important, is that we remember what the consequences are when we take chances, cut corners or simply take on too much risk. A Safe workplace is not something that can be built or created unless each and every one of us fully participates in our Safety program, today and every day! On April 28, please use this Safety Alert as the focus for your Safety meeting.